I think it’s fair to say that by dint of birth or naturalization, Americans have been marooned in an unwilling karmic relationship with Native Americans--those peoples who inhabited these expansive lands from sea to shining sea long before any of us landed.
Our indigenous populations have been run over roughshod ever since—robbed of their lands and marginalized in American society. Many, like the Navajo, lack basic resources like adequate running water in some of their communities. According to WebMD, as a group, Native Americans have the highest mortality rate from COVID of any ethnic/racial group in this nation-- “One in every 475 Native Americans has died from COVID-19, according to the data APM Research Lab’s Color of Coronavirus project shared with The Guardian newspaper.”
Dealing with COVID without adequate running water would be dreadful, indeed. This report goes on to detail that African-Americans come in a distant second on this grim list, with 1 in every 645 dying from the disease. Both groups have truly borne the brute force of this rolling tragedy.
efforts to “memorialize” Native Americans in a national museum and to
write them off with a few meager benefits, however, they have been very
poorly represented in U.S. government, even in states with substantial
Native populations. New Mexico has been a recent exception to this void,
electing its first Native representative in 2018, Deb Haaland. This
election struck a hopeful note for the entire nation; Native Americans
are still very present on the lands that remain to them, and they remain
focused on living there in ways that accord with Nature instead of against it.
|Rep. Deb Haaland (D, NM)|
The Interior Department oversees an enormous amount of public land and vast waterways, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ocean Energy Management, Land Management, Environmental Safety Enforcement, the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and of Indian Education, and on and on. In other words, a deeply critical department for our times. As for Haaland being the first Native American nominated for any Cabinet position, all I can say is, it’s about time.
been giving a lot of thought to the coming few years lately, and it’s
clear to me that astrologically, we’re heading into a stretch of time in
which what we reap will definitely be what we sow, and that this "harvest” will happen fairly quickly. We have, for instance, a very impressionable Jupiter-Neptune cycle launching next year in late Pisces.
The way I see it, if we haven’t begun to turn our exploitative national
approach to the environment around by that time, it may truly be too
late. Water issues will multiply and will manically bifurcate between
scarcity and floods; wouldn’t it be great to have someone who believes
“Water is Life” (“Mní wičhóni”) in a position of power at the time?
|A scene from the Lakota Sioux No. Dakota pipeline protests |
Take the issue of glaciers melting. According to The Independent:
“Between 1994 and 2017 the Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice and the rate of melting is accelerating rapidly, according to scientists who used satellite data and other models to detail for the first time the extraordinary total impact of the climate crisis on various bodies of ice.”
This is no trivial development: sea levels keep rising with these melts, and there’s no end in sight. Coastal regions and basically anyone near a body of water may be more directly impacted, but we all have a stake in this matter because the health of the very hydrologic cycle that feeds our daily needs is itself at risk here.
Then there’s the issue of warming: again, The Independent:
“The past decade was the hottest for the world in records dating back to the Industrial Revolution, a new report has warned.
Last year was one of the three hottest years since the records began in the 1800s, only outstripped by 2016, and 2015 in some analyses, the 30th edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society said.
The data for last year showed the global climate was continuing to change rapidly, experts said, with consequences from melting glaciers to exceptional wildfires.”
a matter of traditional religious belief that Native Americans consider
themselves stewards of the Earth. Perhaps you remember the ultimately
fruitless struggle the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux carried on against the
controversial oil pipeline alluded to earlier; it was being built to
run under and dangerously close to their local North Dakota water
sources and ancient burial grounds, and their views on the matter
weren’t even considered.
The months-long protest began on April 1, 2016, when tribal elder Ladonna Bravebull Allard founded the Sacred Stone Camp on her private property, providing space for the gatherings to come. Jupiter-No. Node (Virgo) squared Neptune-So. Node (Pisces) that day, with Saturn squaring both ends from Jupiter-disposed Sagittarius. When police forces from 5 states amassed in late October of that year to forcibly drive protestors away from the pipeline construction areas, Allard spoke out with righteous anger:
"My people stand for the water, and they attack us. My people stand up for the graves of our people, and they attack us. My people stand up for our sacred places, and they attack us. My people pray, and they stop us, dragging us from our prayer, and throw us in the dirt. I know this is America- this is the history of my people. America has always walked through the blood of my people.
How can we stand in the face of violence? Because I was born to this land, because the roots grow out of my feet, because I love this land and I honor the water. Have we not learned from history? I pray for each of the people who stand up. We cannot live like this anymore. It has to stop- my grandchildren have a right to live. The world has a right to live. The water, the life blood of the world? has a right to live. Mní Wičóni, Water of Life. Pray for the water, pray for the people. Stop Dakota Access- killer of the world."
Saturn spoke to Allard’s (and her tribe’s) concerns about heritage and family rootedness in the Earth, while Jupiter pushed forward for bigger and bigger oil profits at the expense of the water (Neptune) and that rootedness. Water, of course, is ruled in astrology by two planets: when considered on a local level, by the Moon, and when considered on the collective, “oceanic” level, by Neptune. The Moon was in late Capricorn that day, a fitting place, considering a people’s connection with the Earth was at stake.
Mundane astrology relates the Moon to the People—a natural association here when we consider the importance of the water cycle to our everyday survival. Clearly, there are geopolitical dynamics at work in all natural resource and environmental issues—the Pentagon considered climate change to be such a threat to future U.S. security that it issued a special report on it as far back as 2013, and more recently,
“On September 24, 2019, sixty-four senior military, national security and intelligence leaders of the Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG), an extraordinary group chaired by the Center for Climate and Security in partnership with the Elliott School of International Affairs, released “A Climate Security Plan for America.” The Plan calls on the U.S. President to recognize climate change as a vital national security threat, and issue a National Strategy to fulfill a “responsibility to prepare for and prevent” that threat.”
Under Trump this critical recommendation and plan were never acted upon, unfortunately, but perhaps we can hope for a different approach from Biden. I encourage everyone to read at least the Executive Summary of the Plan at the link above, but for our purposes here, I will quickly summarize what the Plan calls for.
Put forth by the bipartisan CSAG, it is designed to address a detailed list of security risks posed by climate change, including: threats to critical infrastructures and operations (remember the Texas “deep freeze?”); potential social instability due to critical shortages of resources (including housing, according to this); threats posed by the emboldening of geopolitical competitors and adversaries—important alliances were put on ice by the Trump administration and it could take a while to rebuild that geopolitical “capital.” Lastly, climate change is capable of challenging U.S. leadership—Biden has rejoined the Paris Agreement, but again, we have lost precious “capital” that needs to be earned back, unless we’re prepared to relinquish leadership to China. Trump’s attempts to “divorce” the U.S. from traditional allies and the international community left our post-WWII leadership position up for grabs, and there can be serious security consequences for that.
So, how do we think about all this astrologically?
We’ve noted the current waning 3Q status of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle more than once on this site – there's a pretty direct connection between this reality and the outsized challenge we’ve faced with misinformation and the denial of reality. A hold-out minority of Republicans still refuse to acknowledge that Joe Biden is the president—some severely deluded individuals even believe (according to QAnon) that Trump will indeed be magically reinstated in the White House as of March 4th. That didn’t happen, obviously, but it did prompt the House to cancel a session that day so Reps could leave town and avoid any problems. So, a capitulation of sorts, albeit for the right reasons.
March 4th may not have panned out (or did it?), but apocalyptic fantasies have a way of morphing to fit the moment as long as someone is benefiting from them—apparently, the Trump Hotel in D.C. escalated its rates for March 4th to $1300/night, from its norm of $500-600. But there’s more than a profit motive at work here: we can probably expect a renewed effort to spin alternate realities like this into our social discourse with the new 2022 cycle; it’s an election year, after all.
Neptune has to be one of the most frustrating energies to deal with, especially when its practitioners employ deception and delusion so brazenly, but we should never make the mistake of thinking it’s not as powerful as the other planetary “heavies.” Neptune just achieves and holds that power by more passive (and often passively aggressive) means than the more straightforward Uranus and less subtle Pluto do. Every planet in this cosmic “Marvel Universe” of ours has its “superpower, and they’re all impactful over stretches of time.
If you’ve ever tried to reason with an addict, you know the challenge of dealing with Neptune. It’s like trying to reason with the pandemic—or with a diehard conspiracy theorist—there's no reasoning and there are no half measures. The best-case scenario when dealing with Neptune is to channel its energies into some lighter, more life-affirming pursuit, but if that fails, Saturnian heavy-handedness is sometimes the only recourse. Where Neptune erodes limits and boundaries and evades responsibility, Saturn imposes limits, establishes boundaries and demands accountability. We can’t exist on this earth plane under Neptune’s spell for long—it's simply impossible. There’s nothing essentially negative about Neptune or any other planetary energy; it’s all in how these energies are used by us.
So, the upcoming 2022 cycle chart is a good place to begin exploring the astrological trends in play these days; again, 2022 will be an election year, so perhaps we’ll gain some insight into how that’s likely to go in the process. We already see the GOP working to pass heavy voter suppression laws in state GOP legislatures and simultaneously working to strip elected governors and election officials of their emergency powers over election rules. Amazingly, the lawyers supporting the Arizona GOP’s attempts to cut off access to the vote for key populations (often minorities) are arguing for their stance in the Supreme Court today, saying the “quiet thing” out loud—that suppressing the vote is to the party’s advantage, plain and simple, and that’s why they want the Court to rubber stamp their efforts.
If the Court does this—and it seems to be signaling it will—this will be yet another blow against the 1965 Voting Rights Act and, because a democracy without universal suffrage doesn’t live up to the ideal, our democracy itself. What we initiated in 1776 was an imperfect, incomplete democratic republic suited to (and somewhat radical for) those times; we’ve been struggling to extend “liberty and equality” to all U.S. citizens ever since.
This historical context reminds me that before the upcoming Jupiter-Neptune cycle launches in April 2022, we will be going through the first exact hit of the U.S. Sibly Pluto return that February. This is perhaps one reason why things in our national politics seem to be getting worse rather than better at the moment: there’s a short period of time for establishing what the tone of the coming decades is going to be with all the new planetary cycles coming in, and the opposing forces are gearing up for that “battle for the Soul of America” the Pluto return has been promising all along, and Biden campaigned on. The 2020 election was marginally hopeful for our national “Soul,” but Trump’s right-wing extremists have only been emboldened and mobilized by it, so serious challenges may still surface between now and the exact Pluto return.
The truth is, this Pluto process is forcing the deep, dark karmic issues of this nation to the surface: especially our failure early on to extend the franchise of democracy to everyone, in the interest of maintaining slavery and white supremacy, even after slavery was abolished. Tragic choices were made along the way to instead cultivate a race-based caste system that persists today, and unfortunately, even though we have softened that system with political correctness and some attempts at legislating key civil rights measures—not to mention a 2-term black president—we never really got to the heart of the problem. Trumpism, of course, has done a lot to reveal why.
Most alarmingly to my mind, Trumpism has revealed that a surprisingly large segment of the American public doesn’t want to change that caste system in any substantive way. Some among them would simply rather rewrite our history to banish those unfortunate failings from our cultural consciousness, and as we’ve seen with challenges to the Voting Rights Act, they clearly want to roll back the civil rights laws we have passed. Who gets to vote seems to be more important to them than who’s on the ballot and the issues at stake.
Fears about voter fraud are the perennial Saturn-Neptune smokescreen for this uncomfortably widespread desire to restrict the vote to only some (e.g. white) Americans: drives to restrict voting like this happened throughout our post-Civil War/Jim Crow history, and if we thought we solved the problem in 1965, we were mistaken, because the same old dynamics keep surfacing. When the Voting Rights Act was passed in August, 1965, Neptune trined Saturn, a nice waxing trine from Scorpio to Pisces; when the Supreme Court rolled back critical safeguards to that Act in June, 2013, the two planets were again trine, but the signs were flipped (Saturn was in Scorpio) and the aspect was waning. Interestingly, the nativity of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King features a natal waxing Neptune-Saturn trine, from Virgo to Sagittarius—he was well-equipped to help “manifest the Dream” of that Voting Rights Act.
We’ll be in the final phase of this now waning cycle until 2026 when Saturn and Neptune start anew at 0°+Aries, so we have an opportunity between now and then to clear out all the outworn nonsense underpinning voter suppression and to shore up that “Dream.” At the moment, however, it’s hard to tell if we’re headed in that direction. We must also somehow overcome the toxic zero-sum thinking that characterizes the right-wing extremism of our times, and that’s a tall order.
More on this cycle another time: our nation’s racial issues have historically hit important milestones along the Saturn-Neptune cycle, but the deep-rooted and almost primally cultural nature of racism in our history is a profoundly Plutonian issue at its core. It’s about Power, writ-large, and since Pluto inhabits the 2nd house in our Sibly chart, it’s about values and the economic engine of a perpetual underclass whose labor built and continues to sustain this nation in myriad ways. Why else would business lobbies militate against a pitiful $15 minimum wage, even today?
Just around the corner
Returning our focus to more immediate cycle issues, it’s quite likely that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle will manifest differently, depending upon how we handle such Pluto return issues between now and then, so in this post we’ll explore what the relationship between these two dynamics will be when the time comes and how all that looks next to our Sibly chart. As it happens, the trial addressing the brutal police killing of George Floyd, which sparked such intense protests last summer all over the country is due to begin next week, so the timing seems apt for this concern. As we’ll see in Triwheel #2 below, there could be multiple potential pitfalls and opportunities.
As touched upon earlier, other karmic race-related Pluto return issues do spill over into other concerns: clearly, we’ve tried unbridled (laissez-faire) Capitalism at its most ruthless as a tool for building this nation, but despite that ideology’s roots in our glorious 18th century beginnings, it’s starting to fail us, big time. This is probably because it does little to solve ordinary human problems or to create sustainable communities that work with Nature instead of against it.
Maybe it’s simply time to move on from this Enlightenment-style civilization, built on placing abstract, detached reason above all else and Man above Nature for the sake of the almighty dollar. Pluto’s return brings us forward from that 1700s period for a reason, because we now so desperately need to establish life-affirming economies, on our local and national levels—what Yes! Magazine calls an “ecological civilization.” Naturalist philosopher Jeremy Lent explains what this means in their Spring 2021 issue:
“This is the fundamental idea underlying an ecological civilization: using nature’s own design principles to reimagine the basis of our civilization. Changing our civilization’s operating system to one that naturally leads to life-affirming policies and practices rather than rampant extraction and devastation.”
Lent is calling for a society that acknowledges the “deep interconnectedness of all things,” one that relies on and builds upon naturally sustainable symbiotic relationships and thereby relaxes the constant “zero-sum gaming” that goes on in cutthroat “winner takes all” societies. Lent says in such a civilization, “competition would be balanced by collaboration; disparities in income and wealth would remain within much narrower bands, and would fairly reflect the contributions people make to society. And crucially, growth would become just one part of a natural life cycle, slowing down once it reaches its healthy limits—leading to a steady-state, self-sustaining economy designed for well-being rather than consumption.”1 In other words, an economy that acts as if People and Nature matter.
My astrological “antennae” are picking up an interesting blend of planetary impulses and agendas in Lent’s admittedly “Utopian”-sounding ideas. What could be more Utopian than the Jupiter-Neptune cycle? Neptune and Pluto focus our attention on the broadest level of civilization and Jupiter working with Neptune pushes us forward towards those dreams of a better world. But not from a “pie in the sky” kind of abstract perspective—Jupiter in combination with Neptune and/or Pluto has a tangible impact on our lives on this Earth plane: it is our excessive exploitation and burning of the chthonic resources from beneath the Earth (Pluto) that causes a lot of the problems with Water (Neptune). It is the exploitation of the many for the greedy excesses of the few that endangers our collective Spirit. Even the ancients understood the key dynamics here, assigning Hades (Pluto) the Lord of the Underworld (and all its resources) and Poseidon (Neptune) Lord of the Seas and Oceans. Jupiter facilitates the excesses of both these “Lords” during its cycles with them, so we ignore these cycles at our peril.
Of course, all the cycles are relevant at all times, but we’ll focus primarily on the two key passages I’ve described for the moment here. Biwheel #1 sets the stage with the Sibly Pluto return set against the U.S. Sibly (radix) chart; Triwheel #1 places the Jupiter-Neptune cycle chart against the charts in Biwheel #1, and as we’ll see, the plot “thickens.”
Biwheel #1. (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) U.S. Sibly Pluto return, February 20, 2022, 11:49:46 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All Charts cast courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.
Notice the amazing concentration of Return (outer wheel) planets laid over the Sibly chart’s lower hemisphere; all but the Moon (Libra) fall over Sibly 2nd-5th. So, the People, their local wellbeing issues (economy, jobs, transportation, communication, housing, etc.) seem to be in focus here. Notice also that Return Jupiter is only about 11° from conjoining Return Neptune (Pisces) and that this Neptune tightly opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo), reflecting the tension that exists between the nation’s view of the “American Dream” in 1776 and that same ideal today.
Resolving that tension presents us with a cosmic ‘fork in the road,” if you will: we either succumb to forces that want us to remain stuck in the “amber” of that incomplete republic founded in 1776, or we fully embrace the ideals laid out in our Declaration of Independence—the basis for this chart, after all—and come closer to being our Neptunian “higher selves.” Given the stakes in this choice, everything else in the return chart should probably be considered from this context.
From that perspective, the Return Neptune (Pisces)-Sibly Neptune (Virgo)-Sibly Mars (Gemini) t-square also seen here suggests the military will be involved. We’ve been listening all week to Congressional hearings that are questioning why the Pentagon didn’t send help to the Capitol sooner than it did on January 6th; this particular t-square suggests that elements within the military will continue to be “confused” about where their loyalties should lie. This Sibly Mars (Gemini) is also triggered by Return ASC (Gemini)--we haven’t seen the end of this issue.
|Congress wants to know why the Pentagon slow-walked the military's response on Jan. 6.|
Return Jupiter (Pisces) trines Sibly Jupiter, Venus and Sun (all Cancer), suggesting some escalating prices and growth to the economy—perhaps, with Venus ruling Sibly 6th, we’ll see wages rise somewhat as well.
Return Saturn (Aquarius) widely conjoins Return MC (Aquarius) and squares Return Uranus (Taurus). The Aquarius points are also in the Sibly Moon’s (Aquarius) neighborhood, again highlighting the concerns of the People and perhaps even radicalizing some among them. There’s strong impetus for change here—a point reinforced by Return Uranus also trine Return Venus-Mars (Capricorn). Material change is strongly called for here—it’s difficult to be angry and radicalized when you can feed your family, pay your bills, and the needs of your community are being addressed.
At this point it makes sense to move on to Triwheel #1 below, where we will focus on how the dynamics of the Sibly Pluto return and those of the new Jupiter-Neptune cycle are likely to work together.
Triwheel #1. (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) U.S. Sibly Pluto return, February 20, 2022, 11:49:46 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C..; (outer wheel) Jupiter-0-Neptune 2022, April 12, 2022, 11:04:11 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All Charts cast courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.
Obviously, there will be a lot of close relationships between the middle and outer wheels here because the events are a scant two months from each other, but our focus here will be on the two critical factors of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle and the Pluto return.
Jupiter-Neptune Cycle point (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo), sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), squares Sibly Mars (Gemini) and trines Sibly Mercury (Cancer). Considering Sibly Mercury’s rulership over the critical 7th and 10th houses of that chart, this trine provides an important look at the network of concerns at stake in the Jupiter-Neptune cycle this time around. Will this cycle confuse or uplift our geopolitical alliances (7th) and global profile (10th) as a nation? Will it trigger geopolitical instability and perpetuate our “forever wars?” (Sibly Mars). Will it boost the economy (Pluto, 2nd) or cause unproductive inflation? Will it inspire a “kinder, gentler” form of Capitalism (Neptune-Pluto) that might suit the “ecological civilization” model Jeremy Lent proposes (discussed earlier), or throw smokescreens over the urgent challenges? Will it feed or begin to heal the scourge of misinformation (Neptune) in our public discourse?
Again, so many of the answers to those questions depend upon how we navigate what remains of this Pluto return. The “architecture” of the Sibly chart (for want of a better term) assures that what happens with Pluto will also impact Neptune and vice-versa—the trine between them assures that, and this Jupiter-Neptune cycle falls right into this uniquely powerful, reciprocal relationship. Neptune and Pluto operate on the level of civilizations, as we’ve seen, so the sense is very strong here that as resilient as our systems and institutions have been these 240-some years towards perpetuating that Enlightenment ethos and worldview, we may be approaching a bend in the road that demands a fundamental, civilization-level transformation. Or a bend that consigns us to the dustbin of history for being so out of step with the stark realities staring us in the face.
Cycle Mars (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon-Return MC, trines Sibly Mars (Gemini) and opposes Cycle Moon (Virgo). The new militarism that has come alive in the country with right-wing extremist groups fits the profile here, suggesting that anger and outrage are poised and organized for attack, and that they will drag the American people into the fray somehow. As we’ve been seeing with the January 6th investigations, current and former military individuals (Sibly Mars) have been far too involved in this potential for unrest. From NPR.org:
“Of more than 140 charged [in the insurrection] so far, a review of military records, social media accounts, court documents and news reports indicate at least 27 of those charged, or nearly 20%, have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. To put that number in perspective, only about 7% of all American adults are military veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
This points to a serious issue within an issue, and one that is feeding into the threat posed by right-wing extremists, aka “domestic terrorists.” IMHO, we won’t be able to move forward as a nation if to do so risks constant violence, so this is an issue that must be addressed at its root causes. Among other things, it seems that a whole lot of people are confused about what swearing an oath to our Constitution means anymore. Even in seriously Neptunian times—even in times when we so desperately need a break from the pandemic grind and it’s the last thing we might want to think about—we can’t simply let that ride.
Given the breadth and long-term impact of the Neptune and Pluto dynamics in play here, that well-worn quote that says “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” comes to mind—hope has to spring eternal when these two are heavily involved, or despair and cynicism creep in and gain a foothold. Even so, when I’m being less starry-eyed and more clinical about our situation as a nation, I wonder if we’ve already lost that national “Soul” that Biden keeps telling us to fight for. It is in Pluto’s nature to kill off outworn realities so they can be transmuted into new forms and infused with new life.
If I think back to the Trump administration from the little bit of breathing space we’ve gained, I wonder—did we just experience 4 years of “death by a thousand cuts?” Did we come out of it an empty shell of crippled institutions that may or may not function adequately ahead? Or did we just have a “near-death” experience that jerked us back into a renewed sense of wonder and awe at our collective blessings and possibilities?
We're long overdue for some wonder and awe, don't you think?
Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years; see the Publications tab on the home page for her two most recent publications, A Silver Lining in Aquarius: Engineering the Future with the 2020 Jupiter-Saturn cycle, and Pluto’s Sibly Return: Revisiting Paine’s Common Sense for Transformational Times..
For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.